food-3177460_1920Hi everyone,

Let’s talk about food today.

I have always been interested in human universals and I also have had sufficient enough interaction with people from different cultures. I noticed a lot of similarities between all these people but one thing that always caught my attention more than anything else is how food works for all.

We all know that we need food to literally survive but I am not here to talk about that aspect today. I want to focus on the role of food in human interaction.

We probably notice every now and then how food is a big part of any event, small or big, cultural or generic. We don’t just invite friends, for example. We invite them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea/coffee+snacks etc. No party would be a good party without something to eat and drink. Any invitation that includes humans also includes food.

If you go to any cultural event, it is very likely to involve food from that culture. If you want to introduce your culture to other people, you are most likely to start with food. That is what I did when I first went to the US, for example. I invited people for breakfast, which is not so common there, because Turkish breakfast is big and famous. Almost all cultural ceremonies also include food. There is special wedding food in many cultures, for example. No wedding would go without some kind of food.

Why is food so important? It is obviously needed for survival, but all the things I just mentioned have nothing to do with pure survival. It serves a higher purpose. It is a way we humans connect. It satisfies several of our needs, and important ones:

to provide for others and relatedly to feel the happiness of others (just observe people when they serve others food)

to keep ourselves engaged in the conversation and interaction (I tend to sit more and focus better when I am eating or drinking something) and relatedly making the interaction longer

All this makes us feel belonging and we feel the people by us. This gives us safety. That is a very important human need.

The conclusion then is food actually is just a medium for a greater purpose in these kinds of interactions, which is why people tend to forget about the food as they get more deeply involved in the interaction. Just observe next time, if you have not already.

I have personally always liked eating, but I also was aware that I did not like the food itself but there was something more about it. Observing how food is treated in many places led me to the conclusions I just talked about. Apparently, I was already treating food as an excuse to connect with people around me. When I made breakfast for people, my main concern was to form a connection rather than actual cultural ‘advertisement’. I just did not know that. Now, realizing what food does for us, I have even more respect for it. It definitely deserves a lot of it.

Do you agree with my points? What is your take on the role of food in our lives? How else does food help us in our interactions? Could all of these human interaction patterns have been formed without food in an alternative universe? Let’s talk food.



101 thoughts on “Food

  1. I agree. I see it also as a time thing and a level of commitment. For example if you invite someone for a coffee we all seem to understand that we are really saying “would you like to have a 30 minute conversation with me?”. Lunch is probably the shortest time period for eating, ie think of work lunch so that would probably be next in line in levels of commitment. Dinner is for romancing a lot as it can extend to a “ coffee at your place or mine 🙂 “. As a child I was always intrigued as to how my mum and her neighbor new when to engage in conversation but most importantly when and how they knew to disengage. I agree food is a great way to engage and disengage from conversation.

    1. Agree to the points you make! I will point out something though. I think there are some cultural differences in the timings. What I see in Europe, for example, is that they always have extended lunch breaks and coffee times (sometimes up to several hours). Other meals could be shorter, though I am not sure. Every society might distribute it differently but they all treat the role of food the same😊

      1. Hmm good question. I think this is a question on why we talk at all (and then we create opportunities to talk). Maybe talking is an important way to understand the other person, which jn turn helps us connect with them better. Do you have an idea?

      2. Yes, I have been trying to answer this for 30 years and my latest answer is I think we are “making sure” when we converse. From making sure of the weather to making sure our loved one is still our loved one.
        Think about it in your next conversation. Even here I am making sure that I am on the right track. That would also explain why questions are so important in conversation ie part of making sure along with comparisons. I think we are supposed to be testing the the integrity of the data we have and the sincerity of the deliverer….maybe.

  2. I also like how different cultures have different approaches on food preparation, but one thing in common is the level of care and diligence put through as well as the roles played by each member. It’s a good way to bond as well

      1. I don’t know.
        Must be a WordPress glitch.
        Once they deleted a whole post of mine a few hours after I had published it.
        Nevertheless I will check my spam folder too.

  3. I think this is what is wrong with British and American cuisine as we have lost the importance of food and replaced it with money which you cannot eat.

    1. Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say ‘wrong’, as food is still a big part of gatherings in these countries. But there might be a general tendency to spend leas time in such gatherings with the urge to ‘be productive’, which essentially implies earning money.

  4. I quite agree with you. Food helps us to connect. For example when I packed to my new flat, my Iranian Muslim neighbour brought boxes of chocolates to me. A total stranger, I took one from it and she said it’s all for me. What happened after was a great friendship that I’ll never allow anything to break.

  5. We are not alone in the universe
    We’re surely not the only ones who need energy to sustain
    But I’m ready to bet my life on it, that no other race engages in “food behavior patterns” the way humans do 😂.
    Round of applause 👏🏾 👏🏾👏🏾 for the guess of honor;
    “ Lebensmittel”
    “ voedsel”
    “ Manjé”

    Sorry, I love food 🤦🏾‍♂️😂😂

  6. I can’t agree more! 😊 This is such an inspirational post. Food is always a big part in my family and in my community. There is nothing better than having friends and family over, spilling to each other about our lives and sharing the joy of eating.

    I lived in a neighbourhood filled with African cuisines. And at first I knew nothing about them. But as I started talking to people and tasted food of their cultures, you just feel like you’re the ever more closer to them as if they’re sharing a part of them to you.

  7. I’m a food lover, I love to enjoy food (not making it) I love the different tastes, mainly the sauces, the flavors… And as you, I don’t know why food is important when we invite people and so, but interaction is certainly one of them! Me too, it’s not about the food when I’m with others, it’s the company certainly and always! I guess it’s dry to just sit without food or so, food makes you a bit less nervous, or drink maybe with dessert, but you feel less nervous probably if the people are new to your life! Here it’s very common to invite people on lunch/breakfast/ dinner….if not, coffee or tea with dessert, it’s not nice that someone step your house and you don’t make coffee even if they arrive suddenly, which is also common here. You need to serve coffee, tea with cake or chocolate or juice, anything at all, it’s a part from the hospitality we have here and I see it as a respect and honoring the guest…same as food, it’s also honoring your guest, and being a friendly person, generous mainly, it’s an act of generosity also as I see it 🙂 Most of our food is from your Turkish cuisine, but allow me to say, I love our food more 🙂 I went to Turkey many times, and I still prefer our food, but I eat everything there and I love to taste new things always!
    I’m so hungry now hahah
    Thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. Thank you for sharing all this and I agree to all. We have the same culture here too. Even if people arrive suddenly, we have to serve something. Tea and something to eat. Actually, if we don’t have anything to serve, we have to go get it in no time.
      You are allowed to like your cuisine more, permission granted😊 I wish I knew more about your cuisine too!

      1. it requires only one visit to Lebanon and you’ll not be able to leave without tasting everything 😊
        Yes same here you need to run and get something to serve, nowadays you can call the market for delivery hahaha so easy!
        My pleasure always 😊

  8. Amazing…. I love healthy and delicious foods. Food is an integral part of our culture and it defines us. We need to protect all the trees and animals that we derive our tasty meals from or else, we’ll loose our identity and heritage in no time.
    #food is good

  9. Good points. Actually in the United States (well in Utah, which is the state I’m from), ‘going out to breakfast’ is a ‘thing’ among young adults. Friends and co-workers often ‘go out to breakfast’ at all night restaurants, at some strange hours sometimes. 1 a.m., 2:30 a.m., 5 a.m. are a few of them that I shared with people in my youth. We’d maybe only get coffee, but we’d sit there for hours and talk and joke. It was really satisfying. But sometimes we’d get a full and often too big actual breakfast and take turns sharing our plates around. I thought of that when I read about the big Turkish breakfasts.

    1. Oh that is nice to know! Breakfasts are awesome, wherever they are! And they also bond people very well at such a time when we are the most energetic during the day.

  10. > to provide for others and relatedly to feel the happiness of others (just observe people when they serve others food)

    Yes! This is spot on haha! I grew up watching my grandma entertain, and I take after her in that regard. Every time someone enters my house I immediately try to feed them! It brings me so much joy <3

  11. I feel sorry for the people aboard the space station, eating food stored in tubes. It must be a dull existence. I can’t see a sense of community around eating in that way or satisfaction, either. Sigh. Food is necessary for subsistence, but it is such a fun way to bring novelty, variety, and interest to our lives – something that doesn’t come from a small selection of tubed foods.

    1. I think there is something more special and satisfying in preparing food for others, which as you say does not come from tubed foods. Good point!

  12. I don’t want to appear negative but I find food to be a hinderance. I do not cook. I always eat alone. If there were a monthly nutrient jab I could take at some clinical drop in centre, I would. I enjoy the taste but the preperation distracts me from what I’m doing. I drink a fijian root bark drink called Kava Kava (good for social anxiety) and thats sociable. I always offer to buy someone a drink.

    1. I always think that food makes social gatherings longer and more intimate, which makes them more and better social. But maybe it does not give that feeling to everyone. I also think that our main purpose in this life is to connect with people, which might also not appeal to everyone.

      1. It does, I have a weird relationship with food. There has been phases in my life where I have cooked regulary with friends. I fasted for a month once. But at times I have had zero appetite and would only eat because I was losing weight. I’ve been 11 stone and 22 stone, so there is some kind of issue for me there.

  13. I agree. As a southerner, we face many tragedies in life with food. At funerals, we take food (usually a casserole) to the grieving. After a broken relationship, we might turn to sweets or ice cream. I known a few guys to turn to Waffle House after being fired from their jobs. I also think food can help during conversation, although I think going for coffee is more suitable for that. Speaking of coffee, I am anxious to try Turkish coffee. It looks creamy and smooth.

    1. Food does all that, yeah! As for the coffee, it comes in small amounts, so no worries. It will go in a moment. The taste is good as well:)

  14. Great post~ food can helps people around you to connect with each other, and food will always taste better when eat along with others~!

  15. Yes absolutely agree with your points and take on food,food is necessity for one survival but more than that it connects with different sorts of peoples culture unconditionally. Really great post, it’ll be really great if you looked into my posts too.

  16. Yeah food has A very important role in our daily lives. Food sales in the has been A thing that brings people together in sporting events and has allowed interaction between people. especially restaurants, movie theaters, concerts and art shows. It’s a precious valuable within economics on a global scale, which human interaction between people can be done.

  17. Beautifully put. I’ve found in my own life that the best way to get involved in someone’s culture and to appreciate their background is to eat their food! Not only are you eating a traditional meal with someone of a different background but it is also inevitable that stories associated with those foods will come up during the meal.

  18. Every humans are foodies and music lovers, there’s nothing bad in the addiction of this two. This was a nice post and I would suggest you to go for interaction between human and food.

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